A federal grand jury in Sacramento has indicted a 27-year-old Northern California man for possession with intent to sell counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl. He was also charged with dealing in firearms without a license and two counts of possession of fully automatic AR-15 style machine pistols, according to a June 6 press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California.
The defendant is accused of selling counterfeit Rx M30 pills laced with fentanyl to an undercover agent and a criminal informant. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, according to a Drug Enforcement Agency fact sheet.
Legitimate pain patients, opioid addicts, and uninformed drug users (e.g., youth) are at high risk of overdose death from taking counterfeit M30 tablets they don't know are laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths in the U.S.
Mandatory prison for fentanyl trafficking
If convicted on the fentanyl charges alone, the defendant would face a statutory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. He could also be assessed a fine of as much as $5 million.
If anyone was seriously injured or died from taking the phony M30 pills, the penalty would be 20 years to life in prison.
Project Safe Neighborhoods
The defendant is a resident of Olivehurst, a known illegal drug enclave about 36 miles north of Sacramento.
The grand jury indictment was the result of a joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Yolo County District Attorney's Office; the Sacramento Police and Sheriff's departments; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Special Services Unit; and the Sutter County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The law enforcement task force was operating under the DOJ Project Safe Neighborhoods program that targets the most violent and dangerous offenders.
Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if guilty, a defendant should seek criminal defense counsel experienced in federal statutes such as that provided by the Sigal Law Group. Call 818-325-0570 for a free consultation.